Muzaffarnagar: An Event That Changed My Life

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At least 34 children have died in riot relief camps in Muzaffarnagar, according to state government's own statistics.
Many children  died in riot relief camps in Muzaffarnagar
My first encounter to such an event in my life was the Muzaffarnagar communal riots of 2013. It was a chilling winter night and some new born babies died because of the severe weather conditions and lack of medical care. In that atmosphere of fear among the refugees, it was hard to understand the agony from their tearful eyes. I along with some trained professionals from Khudai Khidmatgar, an organization working on non-violence and peace, went to visit the refugee camps in the riot hit areas of Muzaffarnagar while taking an off from my urban planning studies at the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) in Delhi. 
Sadiq Zafar | Caravan Daily

An event in life can change the way you think and mould your personality to work in the environment of hate and religious intolerance. Your conscience should question your existence, introspection should be done at every night for the work you do throughout the day and observe what all you did for the humanity, for people around you and the environment in which your presence was marked.

Being from the land where religious extremism and intolerance is a big issue, scope and field of work is vast. Voluntarily getting involved in acts which can heal the wounds of those who were tortured, beaten and chased away from their dwellings during the time of communal tension, is an act of not just piousness but also as a human it is an act of responsibility which lies on the shoulders of every peace loving individual.

My first encounter to such an event in my life was the Muzaffarnagar communal riots of 2013. It was a chilling winter night and some new born babies died because of the severe weather conditions and lack of medical care. In that atmosphere of fear among the refugees, it was hard to understand the agony from their tearful eyes. I along with some trained professionals from Khudai Khidmatgar, an organization working on non-violence and peace, went to visit the refugee camps in the riot hit areas of Muzaffarnagar while taking an off from my urban planning studies at the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) in Delhi.

It was planned to open a bridge school which can actually work as a bridge between the past, present and the future of those kids who had years to live and serve the nation and the humanity. Within hours, the area demarcated as the school was flooded with kids from all around the refugee camps. Mothers from their tormented and discomforted livings showed strength to come out of that environment of fear, to heal the wounds of their kids, who didn’t want the education of their children to suffer even in their hour of distress. Education is the light in the darkness of ignorance.

Since then, I’ve been voluntarily involved with Khudai Khidmatgar in the cause of humanity, whether it is a natural calamity like flood and earthquake or manmade disaster or communal strife. My voice can be heard from any platform which talks about humanity and the cause to bring peace and harmony in the society. Whether someone is hacked for his eating habits or religious fundamentalism or caste based violence, my voice and my words are strongest in condemning any such act which can be seen as a theft of peace in the Indian society.

Even the pen writes what is seen around, from the violations of human rights to the rise of communalism and extremism in India. I wrote for The Architectural Review (London) to condemn the razing of a monument in Delhi in the name of makeshift. That structure, The Hall of Nations, is seen as a symbol of modernism and architectural liberation in India and any such structure which is the part of the collage of cityscape should be conserved. We’ve raised issues which support the existence of humanity like the conservation of floodplain, sanitation drive, and tree plantation. Humanitarian cause should not be restricted as the horizon of the field itself is vast and huge.

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